Its All About The Light

Its All About The Light…

I’m recovering from heart surgery so I was doing some file surfing tonight passing time and came across this old image taken in Minnesota some five years ago. I’ve always enjoyed this sequence of this Great Blue Heron fishing this small stream. Tonight the creative light went on when I saw this specific image file so I grasped the moment and came up with this predawn interpretation.

I love early morning light and the mood that it creates, still waters with dark shadows with highlighted reflections. I can still hear the sounds of woodland creatures start to awaken, a deer is just upstream grazing in the tall grasses, song birds calling in the distance. The heron moves ever so slowly not making a ripple, stalking its prey beneath the mirrored waters surface. I sat ever so quiet on this walking bridge and watched him for some time, it was so peaceful and tranquil. Now that’s an incredible way to start a day.

This image was processed in Lightroom 5.6 with just a slight contrast adjustment, a vignette added by using the radial tool, contrast in the grasses using an inverted radial tool, and details added to the Heron by brush. A slight global sharpening was added at the end. The dark glow and frame was added in Perfect Effects 8.   

A comprehensive detailed overview of the precessing techniques used to produce this image is available at my new blog “The Academy Of Fine Art Photography

Heron Fishing

Heron Fishing


I told you there were deer in the deep grass.

Serendipitously I caught both the deer and heron in the same shot.

Serendipitously I caught both the deer and heron in the same shot.

Night Time Variation

Last night I was working late in the studio and just before midnight I could hear the wind pick up and the distant boom of lightning strikes. I thought about going out but I had a 5:15 call in the morning. When the rain started I opened the door by my desk, I love listening to summer rains and storms, before long there was a torrent of water coming down and the sky was alive with a mother natures light show.

I grabbed my camera and started to shoot down the brick walkway which includes a canopy of trees and a park bench. I’m not one to use a flash but I had a interesting shoot at the Vaughan Street Jail a while back where I used a remote flash behind walls and other objects which created interesting shadow and back lighting results. Well I had an inspiration to take an umbrella and place a remote flash under it and place it in the scene.

The wind was quite strong so I had to anchor the umbrella on the cast iron bench limiting my possibilities. I chose an umbrella that was a complimentary colour to the setting, a blue Matisse pattern and began the process of trying different power settings for the on board and remote flash units. I started using a 28 -70mm at first but change to a wide angle 10- 20mm due to the close proximity and narrowness of the location. I tried different positions and angles for about 30 min then put the card on the computer.

I did some simple corrections in lightroom 5 and began to think this could be interesting. I took a couple of files into OnOne and applied some simple FX filters giving them a darkened whimsical feel which I began to like even more. Check out the spirit orbs that are floating in the darkness.

Rainy Daydreams-46 Rainy Daydreams-47 Rainy Daydreams-48 Rainy Daydreams-49

I think this concept has some interesting applications to followup with using different locations (abandoned builds, fields, trees, bridges, rivers or lakes, grassy knolls).

I’ll continue to post images as I expand my locations this summer.

Natural Moments

Our Roll On Planet Earth

On planet Earth the human race is not a greater being, we are just one of the creatures that share this planet, unfortunately our intellectual egos get in the way of this understanding. Instead of intelligently and consciously managing the ecosystems we take the planet for granted. Sadly the earth is not considered sacred, we don’t truly believe its a place to honour and nurture. Humans look at it as a place with resources, something we own and have the rights to exploit, to create trade to show supremacy over one an other regardless of consequence, including conflicts among ourselves over false boarders or self proclaimed godly rights.

Our neglect is resulting in climate change which is altering the pattern of life on the planet, causing species extinction, forcing unnatural migration and behaviour changes. How many changes do you recognize in your own communities at home or at the cottage. How many plants, insects and animals are harder to find or have gone, and how many are new that have migrated in. A changing climate forces many plants and animals to migrate in order to survive.

Seagulls gather at first morning light.

Seagulls gather at first morning light.

To make matters worse, on land human settlements and infrastructure have already subdivided ecosystem habitats into isolated patches. One study looked at whether species can migrate quickly enough to survive in a rapidly changing climate or habitat. It found that Canada is likely to be one of the hardest hit because of its northern location, and that more than 45 per cent of Canada’s habitat could be lost by the end of this century, resulting in a 20 per cent loss of species in vulnerable ecosystems, such as the Arctic and boreal forests.

Research has shown that most plant species are only able to migrate at 1/10th of the speed required to keep up with human-induced environmental changes. We are not only influencing land surface conditions the research is showing that at current rates we will cause a near extinction of a great number of the wild fish species we are used to consuming within the next 40 years.

The resulting climate changes will make many of these ecosystems uninhabitable, here are a couple of specific issues:

* Canada’s increasingly dry Northern arboreal forests, stretching across the Canadian Shield, have seen burns escalate from one-million hectares to three-million in the last decade.
* Female caribou migrate in Spring to small pockets of vegetation where they feed and raise their new borne calves. But for the past decade, spring has come so early that by the time the caribou reach the coastal plain, their principal food plant has already gone to seed.
* A receding Arctic icecap and earlier-than-normal breakup of sea ice has affected polar bears, which depend on sea ice to hunt seals. Recent studies shows polar bears in some regions are down a third in body weight. The latest generation of seals have also been found to be much thinner than usual.

We are quick to condemn corporate mishaps such as oil spills and other news worthy chemical fires and contamination’s to a-point blame and shame but what have you done to change your demand for these products. If you are complacent and not proactive you are part of the problem that has helped to caused these issues. Do not be afraid of learning slowly, be afraid of not learning, effect change one by one and be a positive part of the future for our children and our children’s children. Play your part in the health of humanity and our planet.

As humans we have an intellect that can dream and dreams can effect creative evolution. We need to dream of how we can create a better place to harmonize with our earth and each other, but do we truly have the will to do it?

Thank you to Dr. David Suzuki for the work you do to enlighten our understanding of the world we live in.


Natural Moments

Thoughts on our relationship with wildlife.

Time is beginning to run out for me and my generation,
fall is coming and another year is coming to an end and what have we accomplished.

Nature is everywhere if your aware.

For me, my personal connection to the natural world has been through the lens of my camera, yet, I believe its our challenge to learn to live with nature and wildlife, to learn that we need to pass down our concerns for conservation.I feel its important to develop that person relationship with the land and its myriad of inhabitants, plants, animals, soils and water. Its only by learning to love the wild that we will want to save it.

I’m feeling more optimistic as each generation is becoming more aware, our children are beginning to understand developing that stronger personal responsibility for the natural world.

We need to make some room in our lives for the wildlife that we live with, if we could begin to share space and share the landscape, then, I feel we have greater hope for the future and that of the wildlife we live with.

In my relationship I share and try to understand nature through my photography, I feel I’ve gained and benefited the most, what is nature getting back from me, what can I give back, we get so much and we give so little back and we unfortunately take too much for granted.

I’ve come to realize that the survival of wildlife on our planet is not only going to be found in the parks and protected lands, its got to be found in the real world, where people and wildlife have to share the landscape. The fact that today we can still find wildlife, in spite of our impact on our land still gives me hope for the future.

Thank you to Jeff Turner who’s documentary on the finding the grizzly was the inspiration behind this natural moment.